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How to rank in Google’s Featured Snippets

Bio: Todays article is written by Marc John (makeshift12) who is a seller on Legiit offering two premium backlink services which you can find here. Marc is a digital entrepreneur who is currently building and growing a range of digital assets including his most recent project which is newsletter, African Tech Story.

The purpose of this article is to look in-depth at Google’s featured snippets. What are they, and why are they important? Most importantly, how can you rank inside the featured snippets?

If you haven’t heard of a Featured Snippet before, it is essentially a piece of content (article, table, video etc) that Google has truncated from a website and presented in the search results. The idea is that it directly addresses someone’s search query. More importantly, it is presented at the top of Google’s search results.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Here’s an example – I typed “duckworth lewis method” in Google. And as you can see from the screengrab below the top results is a featured snippet. Google has pulled out some text from a website and presented the answer to me so that I don’t have to dig much further.

Featured Snippets

It’s pulled the information from Wikipedia. However, if we scroll down the page, there are many other websites which address this topic as well. These are the traditional search results, but since the advent of Featured Snippets, these results have been pushed down the results page in favour of featured snippets. Why?

A superior UX

In their words, Google’s core mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” An integral aspect of this is providing the very best experience to their users. Within Search this entails finding, collating and presenting information a user is looking for in the best way possible. Featured Snippets is an optimal solution to this.

Having your website appear in Featured Snippets is going to get your content many more eyeballs and potentially a lot more clicks. We say potentially because the result is rendered on the search page which means that in many cases the user won’t need to click through to get what they’re looking for. This is commonly being referred to as zero click searches. Nevertheless, getting your website into the Featured Snippets will on the whole be very advantageous.

Getting into Featured Snippets

The first thing to highlight is that there is no straightforward formula you can follow to get into the Featured Snippet. Google hasn’t published any information on the topic for publishers.

There are however some tips you can follow which will increase your chances of appearing in a Feature Snippet.

Types of Featured Snippets

To do this let’s look at the types of features snippets that Google presents of which there are four.

Paragraph or a definition

For example, the keyword we used in the original example, “duckworth lewis method” is an example of a paragraph or definition type Featured Snippet. To give yourself the best chance of getting into this Featured Snippet you should write something that is factual.

Avoid having any opinions or subjective information in your text. Think carefully about the types of questions people might be asking or even better use an SEO tool to help you. Then write a factual article addressing this very question.

Golden Tip: A good way to highlight to Google that this is an answer to a question is to set the question in a header before the answer. On this page you might have “What is the Duckworth Lewis method” as the question, and then directly below it the text that answers that question.

Finally, research shows that most of these paragraph text elements or definitional elements are actually only 40 to 60 words long. Therefore focus your writing on brevity. Avoid lots of fluffy language and get straight to the point.

Table snippets

The second type are table snippets. Google simply pulls the table out from a website and presents it in the search results. For example, when looking for the highest amount of runs scored in an ODI you can see the results are presented in a table within the Featured Snippet. This table derives from a website called Statista.

Table featured snippets

To give yourself the best chance of featuring in this type of Featured Snippet you’ll want to make sure you use an HTML table. You’ll also want to precede the table with an appropriate header.

Ordered list

When I search for “cricket rankings” once again Google has presented the snippet at the top of the page. It’s taken from the ICC website and you can see there’s a simple ranking list.

This is known as an ordered list based on the numerical sequence. A good way to get into this is obviously to use numbers and also to make sure that you are consistent in terms of how you use your numbers. Finally, be sure to introduce the list with a header that clarifies the relevancy of the list.

Unordered list

This type is related to the third type, but it’s known as an Unordered List. The results are presented in no particular order, and usually in bullet points. In this example we typed in “cricket stadiums in england” and the results are presented to me. You can see Google has also included an image pack.

The best way to get into an Unordered List Featured Snippet is to think about your header structure on the page correctly. The first thing to do is to define your header around the topic that the person’s typed in.

Header 2 in this case would be “Cricket stadiums in England”, and then your Header 3 would be the first bullet option in the list. This would be followed by some text, and then that would be followed by another Header 3 and so on. Google will figure out that the headers are the list.

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Video Snippet

When I search for “how to catch a cricket ball” Google renders a video snippet as the first result.

For an instructional method like this, it makes sense for Google to prioritise a video over other formats.

Remember that Google owns YouTube, so naturally it’s going to prioritise video results from YouTube where feasible. Therefore in addition to creating an instructional video which clearly and succinctly answers the question at hand, also make sure that you publish it on YouTube.

Want to hire an SEO Specialist? Check out How To Hire an SEO Freelancer The Right Way

Some extra tips

Reverse engineer the competition

If you’re trying to get into the Featured Snippet for a particular keyword, you should check who’s already in the Featured Snippets and see what they’re doing to get there, and then reverse engineer those methods.

Get ranking first

The final point to note is most of the Featured Snippets that Google presents actually derive from search results that are already on page 1 or at the very least on the top of page 2. Before you start thinking about Featured Snippets, you’ll need to optimize your rankings and try to get your content onto page 1 of Google.

Conclusion

Like all SEO initiatives, ranking in the Featured Snippets is both a science and an art. I hope that the above tips have been helpful and that you can put them into action to rank in the Featured Snippets.

Read More: Why Infographics Are Effective For SEO

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